The story of the Buddha is primarily useful for us as a template to guide us in how to move forward with our own lives. It is helpful to us in the same way that knowing admirable people is helpful to us: we see them live in good ways, watch them make decisions that are virtuous and brave and inspiring, and we hope that we may do the same. The story about the Buddha may or may not be a fully accurate historical representation of a person who lived 2500 years ago, but it is definitely an accurate representation of how we should live today. As a Buddhist teacher, I don’t use it so much as history, but as instruction. It tells us how real people attain enlightenment. We are real people, and we should attain enlightenment.
In essence, there are only four facts you need to know here: The Buddha was a person. You are a person. He did it. You can do it.